Kinect (One step closer to Skynet)

This past weekend I purchased a Xbox 360 S with a 250gb HDD and Kinect. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Kinect. I had seen people trying the Kinect out at Best Buy and I also saw a few commercials for the Kinect, but I had no experience with it myself. The bundle that I picked up came with the 250gb HDD and Kinect Adventures (why Microsoft didn’t bundle this with Kinect Sports is anyone’s guess). The first thing that I want to mention is that I already had an Xbox 360 with a 20gb HDD that I had later upgraded to a 250gb HDD. From the first moment I turned on my new 360 S I noticed that it had less space on the HDD than my older 250gb HD. The weird thing about it is my old drive has numerous arcade games as well as full disc games installed on it. The HDD seems to be missing about 30gb of space, which I could attribute to the space that the Kinect software needs to run if Microsoft didn’t also sell a 4gb version (how could Kinect take up 30gb of space and be bundled with a 4gb HDD?). I checked to see what was installed on the HDD under the memory section of the dashboard. Nothing that took up much space (Not much, about 1gb for system settings and my profile). It would seem that the new Xbox HDD’s just simply cheat the consumer out of some space (that’s my best guess anyway). No problem as I’ll still never fill the remaining space on the HDD anyway.

When you first turn on the Xbox 360 you will notice that the Kinect scans the room (it actually moves around looking at the room). My wife was very creeped out by this. I have to give it to her though, it is a little creepy.What it is actually doing though is determining how much space there is in the room. It is easy to imagine that it is actually Skynet scanning how many lifeforms in each household it needs to terminate come judgment day.

The Kinect came with a surprise that I didn’t know about, it can be used as a microphone while playing games on Xbox Live. I popped in Call of Duty:Black Ops to test this feature. It works superbly. Even with the game volume cranked up the Kinect only picks up voice. I played a few rounds with friends and they told me that my voice was even clearer than with my headset! Using the headset there were often times that I found myself talking very loudly so that my friends could here me. With the Kinect, even with the volume turned up on my TV I could just speak at my regular volume and the Kinect picked up my voice (and I sit more that 6ft away from the Kinect).

The one thing that I think needs to be addressed is the fact that there is no controller for the Kinect. The Kinect seems like a step up from the Wii/Move until you realize that buttons are sometimes necessary. Games like Red Steel 2 would be a blast for the Kinect if Microsoft releases a wand/analog stick of some sort in the future. It would only need a button or two since most everything else could be handled with gestures/movements.

Kinect Adventures is a very fun game, although it seems a bit short. There is an adventure mode, as well as a free play mode. I have owned a Wii since the day it launched and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, being as used to playing Wii as I am really hampered my experience at first. I’ve noticed that most people playing the Wii for the first time will use exatuarated movements. Later on, when they realize they don’t need to use such exaturated movements they begin to just casually flick the Wiimote. With the Kinect you need to move as much as you would like your character on screen to move! When I first started playing Kinect Adventures I was only moving slightly, as I assumed slight movements would account for bigger movements on screen. This is not the case, you really need to dive, duck, jump, and reach all within seconds to avoid everything that would hit you and to collect the coins (I was playing the obstacle course level). After playing one level I was sweating and knew that I would need a shower right after I was done playing. The Kinect seems like it would be fun for all ages, but in order to do really well in the games it seems that you need to be young and fit. Remember when the Wii first came out and on the news there where tons of stories about senior citizens playing Wii, you won’t see the same stories about Kinect. Senior Citizens will drop dead from heart attacks if they attempt to play these games!

All in all I would suggest picking up a Kinect if you are on the fence about getting one. I am Loving it.

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